Rohan Bopanna stole the headlines this week by qualifying for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London next week while Yuki Bhambri ended his best season with a pull-out. All this and more in our weekly recap on Indian tennis.
Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea Qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals
Rohan Bopanna and partner Florin Mergea secured the eighth and final spot in the ATP World Tour Finals in London, barely squeaking past the duo of Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil. Bopanna and Mergea reached the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters where they lost to the second seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo (who incidentally is the new World No. 1 in doubles) but they had to wait to see if Sock/ Pospisil would fail to win the title to assure Bopanna/ Mergea of the last spot. Sock/ Pospisil took it right down to the wire, reaching the final but losing in a match tie-breaker to Dodig/ Melo. This is the third time that Bopanna has qualified for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals and he will be hoping to go one better than his last appearance where he finished runner-up with Mahesh Bhupathi. Also in Paris, India’s Leander Paes partnered Rafael Nadal but the duo failed to make it past the first hurdle, and were knocked ouot by Robert Lindstedt/ Dominic Inglot.
Yuki Bhambri Ends Season With Pull Out
On the ATP Challenger circuit, Yuki Bhambri’s fine run of form ended as the Indian retired in the first round against Tatsuma Ito after losing the first set 0-6. Bhambri has played 22 matches since the US Open winning 18 of them and the run took the better of him as he ended his season with an injury withdrawal. But with a spot in the Australian Open assured, Bhambri should be able to take a few weeks off before starting his off-season training at the Nick Bolletteiri Academy in Florida. At the same tournament, top seeds Purav Raja and Andre Begemann reached the final but had to pull out against second seeds Hsin-Han Lee and Yen-Hsun Lu (unconfirmed reports said the same was due to the death of Raja’s father).
Kyra Shroff Reaches Doubles Final on ITF Circuit
18 year old seventh seeded Sasi Kumar Mukund reached the quarter-finals of the ITF $10K in Egypt before going down to third seed Marko Tepavac in straight sets. Mukund and partner Leo Julien Sebaoun also lost in the first round of the doubles to Tepavac/ Alexander Jhun. 19-year-old Rishab Agarwal reached the quarter-finals for the second week in a row, this time in Birmingham, USA where he upset seventh seed Jared Hiltzik before losing to qualifier David Biosca Girvent.
Natasha Palha, seeded fifth, reached the quarter-finals of the ITF $10K in Egypt won two rounds before going down to third seed Kamila Kerimbayeva. Palha also reached the quarter-finals of doubles event with Ana Bianca Mihaila. Qualifier Shivani Manchanda lost in the first round of the ITF $10K in Tunisia lost to Hana Mraz while Kyra Shroff was knocked out in the first round to seventh seeded Laetitia Sarrazin. Shroff did manage to reach the doubles final with Daiana Negreanu where they lost a close match tie break 6-3, 2-6, 10-8 to Patrycja Polanska/ Anna Slovakova.
Bhambri Inches Up While Mirza Ends As No. 1
In the singles rankings, Yuki Bhambri moves up one spot to No. 88 – a new career-best while Saketh Myneni stays put at No. 168 and Somdev Devvarman moves up 2 spots to No. 178. In doubles, Bopanna climbs 2 spots to No. 12 as Paes drops 2 spots to No. 41 and Purav Raja climbs 7 spots to No. 87.
On the WTA side, Sania Mirza ends the season as World No. 1, and is followed by Prarthana Thombare at No. 289 while Ankita Raina drops 4 spots to No. 317. In singles, Raina is up 3 spots to No. 247 while Rishika Sunkara jumps 52 spots to No. 441, Prerna Bhambri climbs 11 spots to no. 479 and Natasha Palha climbs 47 spots to No. 540.